Over 1.8 million nonprofits and charities for donors, volunteers and funders

Heifer Project International, Inc.

Claim This Nonprofit

More Info

Add to Favorites

Share this Nonprofit

Donate

Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Agricultural Programs, Animal-Related, Animals, Food, International, International Agricultural Development, International Relief

Mission:

Heifer International''s mission is to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth using gifts of livestock, seeds, trees and training in sustainable agriculture community development projects to help millions of people become self-reliant. Since 1944, Heifer has helped transform the lives of more than 13 million families (70 million people) by giving them gifts of cows, goats and other livestock. Along with the animals, families receive training in animal care and conservation for environmentally sound agricultural development. There is also training in community development, gender equity, sharing and caring, strategic planning and other subjects as needed, including literacy. The process takes several years and is not declared successful until the community shows sustained improvement in nutrition, income and self-reliance. Each family that receives an animal agrees to Pass on the Gift by sharing the first-born female offspring of their animal with another family in need, so each gift of livestock starts a chain of self-reliance that spreads throughout  entire communities.

Programs: The Farmer Organizations Growing Hope project will support 550 families

Community Stories

31 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 3

I have donated to Heifer for years because I like the idea that they do not give a "hand OUT," but instead a "hand UP" by providing people willing to work hard with the resources they need to be self-sustaining. Being a lifetime city dweller (in Saint Louis, Missouri), I cannot imagine how hard it is for small-scale farmers to make a decent living for their families, yet many seek out the extra work that the animals and training Heifer provides requires so that they can do even better! Once a family is helped, they learn to practice charity themselves by "Passing on the Gift" they've received from Heifer by giving another family one of their Heifer animal's offspring and help in training the new family. All that said, I DO feel that Heifer is too frequent with their appeals. I will receive a "thank you" letter for a gift and (besides asking for another gift at the bottom of that letter) often within a week will get ANOTHER solicitation. I enjoy getting their quarterly World Ark magazine, but they should fine tune their mailing list to only send the gift catalog to people who actually "order" animals from it.

18

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been donating to this organization since 1994, ever since I personally visited their projects in East Africa. Owning a livestock animal in Africa immediately lifts an entire family out of poverty and into the middle class. I am impressed by how the projects are run, by local community members who determine their own criteria for chosing which family is most deserving of an animal first. That family then must give back to the project the first offspring of that animal, such that the project is self-sustaining and eventually benefits everyone in the community. Not only is there a rise in income (through selling milk, eggs, etc.), the family has improved nutrition, better access to primary education (which costs money), support and education about farm management from others in the project, and pride in having the resources to support themselves.

19

Donor

Rating: 4

I have given to Heifer International for a couple of yrs. I would hope that most of my donation goes towards what the charity was intended for - livestock for families to make an income on and then pay forward with a contribution towards someone else in their village. I realize my expectations are high and they do have expenses. I will continue to contribute but would like their non-profit to work on lowering their expenses so that more families are affected by these donations. Please only send a small card and envelope 2x/yr for donations. The complaint of so much solicitation from Heifer International is well warranted and expensive - there goes my donation. If expenses do remain high, then perhaps a change of management is needed. Take a look at other charities that have low expenses - it can be done. Let's get back to the idea and passion of it's originators - thank you!

21

Donor

Rating: 3

I thought that I had found a good way to donate. so the first year a bought a goat. Since then I have been inundated with solicitations even though I already am a member. Apparently they have a high paid CEO who thinks this a good way to run this charity. I started this year with a thought of donating a pig, but with each unnecessary solicitation, I am not down to perhaps a flock of chickens, or maybe nothing. Maybe they have too much money and don't care if they waste it. I was also annoyed that donations are switched by them to whatever they want.

13

Donor

Rating: 5

I am both a technical professional as well a a farmer managing nearly 50 head of cattle. I have been a supporter of HI's initiatives for several years and fully support their "teach a man to fish" approach by helping to provide solutions to hunger as well as providing resources to help create sustainable agricultural opportunities that help lead to financial improvement. They are committed to providing agricultural resources that can create sustainable and long term solutions. Some may value a crop over an animal, which is fine, but I find the demonizing of leveraging animals for production (meat, wool, eggs, etc) short sighted and ill informed. HI's goal is admirable and is deserving of support.

Review from Guidestar

13

Donor

Rating: 3

I don't have much more experience that some of the people with their negative comments on here. Perhaps they receive donations from companies for some of these ideas, like return address labels. But if they didn't send out their brochures, I imagine they would not last long. I know I wouldn't necessarily remember to donate. Furthermore, they aren't giving all these animals to people to eat. No, I'm not donating any rabbits, but I would imagine the goats are for milk and the bees are for many things. Noone's eating the bees. So if you don't want to contribute for these reasons, well, I'm sorry to hear that. I'm going to! People in these countries need a jump start and are willing to work to improve themselves. Sounds like a great mission to support.

18

Donor

Rating: 2

I think their idea is great but it seems to me that all the donation money I have given has just been used for glossy mailers. Why send me a glossy, expensive mailer when I already am a contributor? If they would show more wisdom in how they manage their donations I would be much more ready to give in the future.

Review from Guidestar

14

Donor

Rating: 1

I have a monthly donation to Heifer But with l the mailing I receive biweekly, I will not be renewing my donations. I believe they are spending far more money on mailing than on the purposes of the donations such as buying animals etc. a dissapointing venture on my part.

Review from Guidestar

24

Donor

Rating: 1

I gave a general donation of about 50 dollars at the start of this year. I have since received disgusting amounts of mail from them. I know charities need to ask, but Heifer International brings it to a level that is beyond ridiculous. I receive something from them at least every two weeks, often once a week. It's not just a piece of paper with a return envelope, it's almost always some grandiose bells and whistles envelope with muti-textured cards and glossy fold outs of things like "FOR ONLY 30 DOLLARS YOU CAN GIVE THEM A HIVE OF BEES, FOR 50 DOLLARS YOU CAN GIVE THEM A GAGGLE OF GEESE". I half expect confetti and music on some of the larger envelopes that will appear on random days nowhere near holidays. I'm quite convinced that I'm right on track to making that 50 dollars back via mailed solicitations. I'm not exaggerating, if every envelope and "catalog" I've gotten cost .25 cents, I've been mailed at least 10 dollars. So I suppose my donation has served to solicit 4-5 people, myself included.

I thought the solicitation would die down in a month or two after I gave, it didn't. I even sought out how to remove myself from the actual mailing list, but couldn't find it on their site. So I tried to ignore it, figuring they would cut ties. They are a large charity, surly they have a system of removing non-giving ex-patrons after a few months. Nope, apparently not. The train never slows down and it ever stops. Their mailings kept coming with reckless abandon. I finally had enough and seriously looked into how to remove myself from their mailing. I had to get the information from a totally unrelated website dedicated to helping people get off mailing lists. I googled the email address for this, and it actually is on Heifer's website. It's under their "Privacy Policy" and under the obfuscate question of "How do you contact us regarding your information?" It's nestled in between how you can remain anonymous (which, if you are hell bent on donating to them I IMPLORE you to do, you'll thank me.) and reviewing "your personal information".

It's, by the way: remove@heifer.org; send them your full name, address, phone number (if you gave it, might be a trick to get your number, who knows), and email address you used.

Good luck, because I sent the request a month ago. While it's slowed down, I've received two mails since (three really, but I requested and received the one of the three about two days later. Please also note that three mailings a month is something I consider "slowed down" from them). One was their extravagant multi-paged color glossy Holiday catalog with bees, geese, ewes, chicken, yak, and every other thing bursting at the seams. The other is something simple yet probably a bit more sinister. Every other envelope you can clearly tell is from heifer a mile off, this recent one-the one that got me on here to finally voice my problems with them- is subtle. Only my name and address on the front, with the nonprofit stamp (which tipped me off instantly). On the back, on the top flap is, "Pierre U. Ferrari" in big bold and in smaller normal writing the Heifer International address. Inside is a letter headed only "Pierre U. Ferrari" letter, a "Beat the Tax Deadline" letter, and the only paper to carry the previously omnipresent logo which is the actual contribution paper.

So not only have they seemingly ignored my request and kept sending me stuff, but instead of sending me the over the top overflowing envelopes they are now sending me (and somehow this is more insulting) stealthy, mostly incognito solicitations under the auspices of the CEO.

If you need to give to them (expect your donation to go DIRECTLY into marketing and solicitation), do it anonymously. If you love receiving mail or are very, very lonely (or have an enemy whose mailbox warrants ubiquitous bees, water buffalo, chickens, and water fowl) then giving to them will solve your problems.

Review from Guidestar

7 gala62

Donor

Rating: 4

I have been donating to Heifer for several years now. I generally only donate to local charities, but when I first heard of Heifer, I researched them and found that I really agreed with their approach - help each community to become self-sufficient. It is a practical approach that I believe in.

My main complaints/concerns are similar to ones already mentioned. When I make a donation, don't acknowledge it with another appeal for money. Also, reduce the number of appeals. Thankfully, I have not been contacted by phone. That would be a huge issue for me.

I fully plan to continue my modest donations. They help out the poorest people live a better life.

23

Donor

Rating: 1

I made a small donation to this organization at Christmastime. Since then, I have received emails, phone calls and heavy, glossy mailers sent first class postage asking for more, more, more. Now, it does not bother me that a charitable organization would be trying to solicit donations, but I feel at this point (only a month after making my donation) that my money has been swallowed up campaigning for me to give more, rather than going to the poor who I intended my donation to help. I will never donate to them again.

Review from Guidestar

12

Donor

Rating: 3

I gave to this charity because I respect what they are doing globally. They not only donate an animal to a family in need and train them how to take care if it, they also require that the family donate the first female offspring to another family in need. And then that family must do the same. It's what they call "passing on the gift."

Like a lot of other people have said, my donation left a bad taste in my mouth when the card they sent to say "thank you" also included requests for more money. Saying thank you with your hand out for more is not being thankful at all.

I will say, though, that Heifer is not the only charity that does this. I have donated to Christian Children's Fund, Samaritan's Purse, the American Red Cross, and the ASPCA, and they all do that. It's a real turn-off.

9

Donor

Rating: 5

I have donated to Heifer for several years now. And every year, I'm impressed at the good work they've done, and the improvements they've made in their organization.

I would also like to mention that they've been around for sixty years, and have received hugely prestigious awards for the work they do.

I see a lot of one-star reviews here that contain things that are flat-out wrong about the organization (They don't push Christian ideology, for example.) Others involve well-intentioned people who are simply misinformed as to the facts. (Animals are a vital part of a farm's sustainable ecosystem, for example.)

15

Donor

Rating: 1

A couple of years ago, I donated to Heifer as a part of a donor matching program. Donate $10, it was matched.

The problem is, they have since spent every dime of the money I donated trying to solicit more. Now, I don't mind the nice Christmas labels and address labels they send each year, but the glossy brochures and mailings I regularly receive far outweigh the very small donation I was able to afford. Further research on this charity has unearthed an unsettling amount of negative feedback. I don't regret my donation, but I won't be bothering again.

Review from Guidestar

28

Donor

Rating: 1

I made a small donation to Heifer International last December, writing "one-time donation" on my check. Since then, I have been bombarded with phone calls and mail solicitations for more money. The amount they are spending on the calls and printed materials has long surpassed the amount of money I sent them. I would never give to this organization again, and I have spent time e-mailing and telephoning in order to be removed from their call/mailing lists. Even an assurance that I would be removed from the lists from their customer relations manager has been a farce, since I received yet another solicitation three days ago. Enough is enough! I have reported this company to the BBB with the hopes of getting some action.

11

Donor

Rating: 5

I am 81 years old, and Thank God, manage to bear my infirmities and serious physical limitation. My wife and I live on a very modest monthly income which often does not see us all trough the month. We are THANKFUL for what we have and we have long ago decided that that there is NOTHING which approaches the reward of GIVING FROM ONES NEED and not from ones EXCESS. So the 1st $279 we receive each month must go to WORKS such as HEIFER PROJECTS. Our only regret is that we don't have more so we could GIVE MORE. We are BLESSED and we simply CANNOT AFFORD NOT TO GIVE TO SUCH FOR DOING KINDNESSES WHICH WE, PERSONALLY, ARE SIMPLE UNABLE TO DO! THANK THANK YOU, HEIFER, FOR BEING THERE FOR US!
Corpsman---Semper Fi......... Jim

Review from Guidestar

30

Donor

Rating: 2

I have donated to Heifer many times in the past.

This year they called & my husband made a pledge over the phone. When the invoice arrived, I paid it within the week. Not surprisingly my check to them cleared the bank within the next two weeks.

Since that time, I have received 3 more invoices reminding me of our pledge & asking me to send in the amount we pledged. I suspect that I'm going to be receiving these letters for the rest of the year if not longer- each one beginning with the line"occasionally a delay may occur in posting new gifts to our system, so please accept my sincerest apology if you have already sent in your gift & our letters crossed in the mail." Right- likely they are just hoping that we've forgotten we sent it in, or that someone else gets the mail & sends in another. It's been months now & I'm officially fed up.

Review from CharityNavigator

14

Donor

Rating: 5

Heifer International is not a "christian based" charity as some have stated. They do NOT try to force any form of religion on the recipients of their gifts. They are concerned with helping people to survive and better themselves by giving them the knowledge and tools to take care of any animal given.

Before a recipient receives an animal Heifer investigates the land and discovers what animal will be able to survive in the prevailing conditions. Also they educate the recipients on how to protect the land from over use by the animal given and how to use the animals by-products (manure, etc) to enrich the earth. Recipients are given all the information and training needed to keep their animal(s) healthy and feed while at the same time not further destroying the land. I believe this is one of the best "direct to the needy" charities around. Knowledge acquired and then shared continues on and on. Heifers' goal is to give the poorest people the chance to change their lives by giving them knowledge along with the gift of an animal.

I tell everyone who wishes to give me something, to give a donation to Heifer International instead. I do not need a card saying they gave in my name...nor do i need a fancy receipt from Heifer when i donate. Charity is charity. Yes, I list them on my taxes but proof comes in the form of credit card statement or sometimes even a canceled check! If the IRS doubts me...no big deal, it is not like i am giving millions.

21

Donor

Rating: 2

I have supported Heifer International for a number of years now, however I was somewhat disturbed and disappointed to get a call this past weekend from a paid solicitor trying to get me to make a donation. I don't know the finanacial details, of course, but telephone solicitation is, I bleieve, an expensive way to get donations. I do hope that Heifer Int'l abandons telephone solicitations, as I won't be giving any money that way.

Review from CharityNavigator

14

Donor

Rating: 1

My 7 gift cards to be sent to receipients did not include the extra specific message. One was written as if the receipient made the donation to her last name from her first name. There is no email access for answering questions. Telephone personnel was very uninformed. Had to give the complete order twice and was read back the messages and they still did not appear. I will NOT dionate again.

Review from CharityNavigator